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Does 4G free brand advertising? by @TheAgencyUK

The dust has settled on the bidding process for the new 4G network in the UK with the main protagonists, Everything Everywhere, Vodafone, O2, Hutchinson 3G and Niche Spectrum Ventures (BT), shelling out a combined £2.34 billion for access rights. Not an insignificant sum you might say, but still only around 10% of the auction of the 3G network in 2000 and over £1 billion less than the Treasury had forecast.

I sold out to Big Data by @TheAgencyUK

There’s a lot of talk about ‘Big Data’, it’s certainly the 2013 buzz with firms EMC2, IBM, Oracle even Adobe speaking louder than most.

But what does it actually mean?

When you get past the spin, hype and bluster, Big Data is actually a simple proposition. It’s about accessing and consolidating data from multiple data sources, and delivering insights that improve the way an organisation delivers products and services to consumers. So what’s so ‘big’ about that?

Near Field Communications: uses for exhibitors and exhibition stands

By Louise Walters, CEO at Priority Exhibitions

Near Field Communications are going to have a huge impact within events and exhibitions. The new Google Nexus S phone has been fitted with an NFC chip and there are rumours that the iPhone5 will also have it. So this technology won’t be widespread for the next few years, but it’s important to understand its potential.

With NFC enabled, two mobile devices can communicate with each other by placing them very close together. This will be incredibly useful by enabling data exchange very easily and very quickly.

As Sales Continue to Fall, Could Mobile be the Saving Grace?

At a time when sales typically increase, the latest news is that retail sales figures for January are in fact, the second worst since 1995. There’s nothing like a touch of reality to make retailers come down with a bump as 2012 gets into full swing, but that is the face of modern retailing unfortunately.

Digital Society Gives Us Reach, But That’s Not a Sale

Forget Big Society, if you haven’t already, and embrace Digital Society, because that has been the actual focus for many people over the past three years.

How well is the events industry using social media?

Louise Walters, CEO of exhibition stand design company Priority Exhibitions, talks through five key ways she advises clients on how to really get the most from their exhibition stands to promote themselves at exhibitions and conferences.

Like any industry, the events and exhibitions industry is a mixed bag when it comes to adopting new marketing methods and new technologies. Some exhibitors and exhibition organisers are using Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms really well, while others are really missing out.

It Takes Two to Tango by @TheAgencyUK

With the predicted onset of Social Commerce, aptly named sCommerce by the principals at IBM, we are about to witness the next technological revolution. Goodbye CRM, goodbye traditional direct marketing and hello social commerce.

Could changes in product listing rules hamper sales this Christmas?

Did you know that your products might not be displaying properly on shopping and price comparison websites? Chances are, probably you didn’t know but this is because there are some new requirements in place that are now causing a storm for retailers.

Millions of shoppers will use price comparison websites, Google shopping and shopping-related Apps every day as a quick and efficient way of buying products as the best price possible. So make sure that you are not missing out on your opportunity to sell this Christmas period and make sure that you are aware of the rules around listings!

Due to some strict requirements which have been recently brought in to help make shopping more clearer and easier for the customer to understand, many of these price comparison sites are rejecting some listings by retailers and when it comes to the raw product data which is submitted to the various sites, many retailers may be totally unaware that their listings are not appearing properly, or in some cases, have been rejected completely.

This could deal a devastating blow to retailers and could cost them critical sales in the run up to Christmas, and indeed afterwards for the savvy shopper wanting to enjoy the January sales.

Personally, I would urge retailers to be totally aware of all the changes to the way Google Shopping and other sites accept their product feeds so that retailers are much more stringent in ensuring they submit data in the right format as specified by each individual site.

Any retailers who may be concerned about the quality of their listings to seek advice and help sooner rather than later, to ensure they don’t risk further sales.

Christmas is a critical time of year for many retailers and no one can afford to rest on their laurels and put off dealing with any issues which may negatively impact sales performance. Automated product feed solutions can be implemented quickly and can start making a radically improvement to product visibility in just a matter of days.

Brand Santa by @TheAgencyUK

Ahead of the Christmas season our planning and creative teams seem to have spent a little too much time thinking about Brand Santa. Here’s their thinking, straight off the white board.

Brief Santa. Develop a symbol that transcends social class, geography and time. As a character he should embody tradition, as a brand he should be fuelled by sentiment. As a celebrity he should enjoy freedom from the press. And as an icon, other brands should want to associate themselves with him.

So is it even possible to answer such a brief today and create brand Santa? Would he need to be endorsed by Disney before gaining popular appeal? How could he ever evoke the same feelings in people’s hearts and minds? What would be his brand proposition?

We’d probably have to start with research and take Concept Santa along to a few focus groups. Parents would no doubt be the first stumbling block. An overweight elderly man breaking and entering childrens’ bedrooms is a hard sell at the best of times.

But assuming we worked that out with a compelling and moral proposition. We know our target audience, we know our mums and dads. We know bribery for good behaviour is sure to be a winning feature and benefit.

It’s probably around this time that the issue of budget should be discussed. Is Santa not for profit? Product brand association is probably essential and most likely inevitable. In the jolly season it’s all about cut through.

A facebook page, twitter account and general social media groundswell is an easy sell, after all look at the Queen, with more than 300 thousand followers?

Advertising, sponsorship, PR, and a fully integrated channel plan. Creatively, he is the big idea, so perhaps a few Wikipedia entries to help form his past?

Not convinced? Well today he would be a pretty hard concept to bring to life, and an even harder one to sell. Testament to the generations of family effort and commercial investment that has gone in to shaping him. Put a brief out to launch a middle aged fat man that the world will love, and most agencies would run a mile. But then again we did get Homer Simpson.

Did you leverage Cyber Monday to entice customers back into store?

Cyber Monday might only come around once a year, but I wonder how many actually took steps to ensure that the benefits of the day are felt by the business all year around?

As technology and mobile become more common place in the offline retail experience, I believe that many could be missing a trick by failing to encourage those shopping online to visit the bricks and mortar stores too.